What is Advocacy?

Independent Advocacy is:

Independent Advocacy safeguards people; who are vulnerable and discriminated against; or whom services find difficult to serve. It enables people who need a stronger voice by helping them to express their own needs and make their own decisions. Speaking on behalf of people who are unable to do so for themselves.

The independent advocate is there to help individuals or groups get the information they need so they can make real choices about their circumstances.

The independent advocate supports individuals or groups to put their choices and wishes across to others and may speak on behalf of an individual or group who are unable to do so for themselves.

The key aspect of Advocacy is a process of supporting and enabling people to:

  • Express their views, wishes and concerns
  • Access information and services
  • Defend and promote their rights and responsibilities
  • Explore choices and options
  • Speak on behalf of people who are unable to do so for themselves.
  • Express their own needs and make their own decisions
  • Empower those in need of advocacy concerning present issues to develop the skills and confidence to
    advocate for themselves when addressing future issues

Independent Advocacy is not:

  • Providing general advice.
  • Making decisions for someone.
  • Help filling in forms.
  • Mediation.
  • Counselling.
  • Befriending.
  • Care and support work.
  • Consultation.
  • Telling or advising someone what you think they should do.
  • Solving all someone‚Äôs problems for them.
  • Speaking for people when they are able to do it for themselves.
  • Agreeing with everything a person says and doing anything a person asks you to do.

The key principles of Independent Advocacy are:

  • Independent Advocacy puts the people who use it first.
  • Independent Advocacy is accountable.
  • Independent Advocacy is as free as it can be from conflicts of interest.
  • Independent Advocacy is accessible.

(You can read more about these on the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance website)